169 Optimization of Consumer Unit (CU), Stock Keeping Unit (SKU), Distribution Unit (DU) and packaging – central to the development of new/changes to existing products

Optimization of Consumer Unit (CU), Stock Keeping Unit (SKU), Distribution Unit (DU) and packaging – central to the development of new/changes to existing products

The grocery industry has a common goal of being able to:

  • Streamline product flow
  • Reduce environmental impact
  • Promote sales
  • Reduce shrinkage

when products are being developed/changed.

To achieve this, it is crucial to standardize and optimize packaging on the product at all packaging levels – Consumer Unit (CU), Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) and Distribution Unit (DU).

STAND has therefore prepared a standard for this, which applies to all packaging levels.

Audience for the standard is managers and everyone who works with product development, assortment and logistics in the value chain.

By complying with the standard, processes in the value chain are optimized and gains can be extracted in a number of areas such as:


  • Form Stable Distribution Units (DU) and Stock Keeping Units (SKU)
  • Correct quality of Distribution Units (DU) and Stock Keeping Units (SKU) for efficient handling through warehouse

Outbound transport

  • Withstand double stacking
  • Avoids shrinkage and damage

 Inbound transport

  • High case fill rate
  • Double stacking of pallets
  • Avoiding transport damage


  • Effective replenishment
  • Sales-friendly, good visibility when Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is used to expose products
  • Optimal use of shelf space
  • Reduced food waste, with correct number of Consumer Units (CU) in Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)
  • Reduced food waste, utilising 2D barcodes with dynamic information


  • Optimal and user-friendly packaging
  • Clear, accurate and complementary product declaration
  • Recycling labelling
  • Extended product information utilising 2D barcodes

In addition, optimization of packaging through compliance with the standard will reduce environmental impact at all stages in the value chain, as part of the industry agreement with the authorities.

The packaging must be:

Easy to sort
In order for the packaging to be able to be recycled, it is important that it is sorted correctly by the end user and thus enters the correct recycling stream. There are a number of steps you can take when designing the packaging, which increase the likelihood that it will be sorted correctly. This information is summarized at https://www.grontpunkt.no/design-for-kildesortering

In order for the packaging to be material-recycled and become new raw material that can be used to make new products, it is important that this is taken into account in the packaging design and material selection. To find out how recyclable the packaging is and what steps can be taken to improve this, you can enter the packaging in https://kalkulator.grontpunkt.no

In monomaterial if possible
The easiest way to make it more intuitive for the end user to sort the packaging correctly, and to make it easier to recycle the packaging, is to ensure that the packaging only consists of one material.

From recycled material if possible
Most packaging is recycled, but there is too little demand for recycled material. By using recycled material when developing new packaging, you ensure that the circular material flows work and thus both reduce the need for virgin raw material and the environmental burdens these entail.

Important notice
All products must follow the GS1 Allocation rules. (chapter 2.4). These are international rules and are mainly based on the fact that a change of over 20% to a physical dimension, on any axis, or gross weight, requires assignment of a new GTIN.

In addition, the following applies to Norway:

  • For products registered in the Tradesolution EPD base, approval of the grocery chains is required to keep existing GTIN on a product, also for changes below 20%
  • Frequent cumulative changes, without changing the GTIN, in avoidance of the 20% rule is an unacceptable practice. Trading partners should be notified about all dimensional changes. Cumulative changes might cause problems for trading partners and may obstruct the transport and supply of a product
  • Local, national or regional regulations may require more frequent GTIN changes. Such regulations have precedence over the rules provided within the GTIN Management Standard

Exception from the standard
Under special conditions, exceptions from industry standards and guidelines may be relevant.
Exceptions must be agreed separately between the parties concerned and shall be described in Checklist for optimization of Consumer Unit (CU), Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) and Distribution Unit (DU).

The check list can be downloaded as a separate document.

Published on: 9. August 2018